After blasting their way through a television series and OVAs, the Dirty Pair take their brand of goofy carnage to unexplored territory: the hour-long feature. As the title suggests, the latest Dirty Pair DVD release is a collection of three 55-minute films starring Kei and Yuri, the “Lovely Angels” of the World Welfare Works Association. The benefit of a longer run time is the potential for deeper, more complex narratives. Unfortunately, Dirty Pair: Features doesn’t make the most of the extra time and one film casts a deep shadow over the other two.
The first feature is Project Eden. The primary concern is Vizorium, a precious metal used to create starship engines that has become so valuable that it has become the primary commodity among thieves. The Lovely Angels are called in to settle a dispute between two corporations after a factory responsible for engineering new Vizorium refining technology is destroyed. While investigating the factory ruins, the girls cross paths with a thief who stole from the factory before it blew up. Reluctantly teaming up, the trio discover the true cause of the destruction: biological creatures created by a deranged scientist who is using Vizorium to take them up the evolutionary ladder.
The second film, Flight 005 Conspiracy, concerns the sudden and violent explosion of an interstellar passenger ship carrying a scientist vital to a planetary colony’s development of a new technology. The WWWA Computer assigns the mission to Kei and Yuri, much to their chief’s despair. The two ultimately find themselves caught in the middle of a larger than life espionage thriller involving numerous secret agencies with their own agendas, be it keeping secrets or securing their government’s reputation.
The final film in the collection, Affair Of Nolandia, focuses on the plight of Mizuni, a young girl with psychic powers who has disappeared after her caregiver is brutally murdered. On the advice of Samara, planet Ookbar’s chief security officer, Kei and Yuri are sent to the forest of Nolandia. Upon their arrival, the women are beset by nightmarish illusions that get progressively more disturbing — a phenomenon that turns out to be Mizuni’s defense mechanism. When they finally make contact with the young girl, Kei and Yuri are drawn into a fight with villain who wants to use the child’s powers to further his own corporate agenda.
Of the three films, I enjoyed Project Eden the most because it is the most Dirty Pair of the set. A great blend of comedy, action, and fan service, Project Eden strikes a proper balance. The only problem I had was the ending, where a careless act brings forth unprecedented and horrible destruction, even by the Lovely Angels’ standards. The added “tee hee” nature of Kei’s carelessness makes it all the more infuriating to me. I get that the schtick of the series is Kei and Yuri’s willingness to cause as much collateral damage as possible in order to get their man, but up until now that damage has been limited to structures of varying size and expense. The slaughter of an entire human colony by the very thing the Dirty Pair were tasked with stop negates what they had accomplished. If the Lovely Angels aren’t put out of the job for it, I don’t know what they could possibly do to get fired.
Flight 005 Conspiracy is a decent film, foregoing much of the humor in favor of a slightly morose espionage story. What surprised me the most about the feature was the high level of violent material. Blood flows freely when people are shot and, in one instance, Yuri is caught in the crossfire and finds her face splattered with blood and gore. The violence, and the action for that matter, is sporadic, resulting in a much quieter Dirty Pair adventure. Because there are numerous secret agents running around pointing their guns at the girls, the whole affair simmers under a slow burn. It isn’t bad, but it’s not great either.
Affair Of Nolandia is a stark contrast from Project Eden. Where Eden is fun and goofy, Nolandia gets rather dark. The edgy nature of the film occurs when the girls get to Nolandia and start experiencing strange visions and nightmares which involve both Kei and Yuri being attacked by creatures. When corporate enforcers arrive to find Mizumi, they are dispatched rather violently by fauna, their bodies either trampled or stabbed by the creatures Mizumi materializes. During the final chase sequence (which is quite good), an errant laser blast aimed at Yuri instead hits a hover car causing it to plow through pedestrians on an escalator before exploding into an unseen crowd. Yuri’s reaction to the carnage is an awkward utterance of “I’ll never forget” (fault could very well lie with the dub recording). Seeing Yuri troubled by this collateral damage would have made for a nice bit of character development, but the moment is quickly cast aside as the movie switches scenes. Where Affair Of Nolandia suffers is a genuine lack of the carefree humor of the series. Outside of the sequence where the ladies frolic on a lake, the tone is as serious as Flight 005 Conspiracy. The movie features a redesigned Kei and Yuri, who look as if they stepped off the set of Robotech. There’s also a more than normal amount of nudity, stumbling just over the line of cheeky fanservice. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that Affair Of Nolandia is the worst feature in the collection, but like Flight 005 Conspiracy, it offers a much different tone from most Dirty Pair adventures.
Dirty Pair: Features might not offer the best stories about the Lovely Angels, but I appreciate that there is someone out there committed to making more Dirty Pair content available for fans.